Discussion on how the Federal government can support and benefit from advances in phishing-resistant authentication.
Matt Lourie, Sr. Director of Engineering
Last month, Nok Nok Labs attended the White House Multifactor Authentication (MFA) Modernization Symposium. This event brought together government and industry leaders to discuss how to achieve full adoption of MFA across federal agencies, as called for in the Executive Order on Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity.
Many government agencies currently rely on Personal Identity Verification (PIV) and Common Access (CAC) cards for employee authentication. However, these smart cards are not always convenient for remote access and everyday use. Connecting to a separate card reader can negatively impact user experience. As Deputy National Security Advisor Anne Neuberger noted, government policies should not create barriers to MFA adoption.
There was broad consensus among participants at the symposium that to fully implement MFA, the government needs to move beyond legacy technologies and embrace advanced standards like passkeys. Passkeys are a modern type of credential that can help government agencies finally achieve comprehensive MFA deployment. With passkeys, users authenticate using a cryptographic key pair stored on their device, rather than typing in a password, providing phishing-resistant security without the usability drawbacks of traditional second factors. Passkeys are already supported across major platforms and browsers and can be bound to a single device or synced across multiple devices, making them a practical path to securing access for employees, contractors, and citizens across all applications and environments.
It is clear that the transition to full MFA adoption will take thoughtful planning and cannot happen overnight. With over a decade of experience in authentication and as a founding member of the FIDO Alliance, Nok Nok Labs is well prepared to assist agencies throughout this process of transitioning to full MFA adoption. We understand the unique needs of the government and have solutions to deliver robust security and usability at scale.
While modernizing authentication is no small task, the White House symposium reiterated that it must be a priority if we are to defend our digital infrastructure in today’s threat environment. Public-private collaboration will be key to overcoming roadblocks on the path ahead. Nok Nok Labs looks forward to continuing to work with our partners across government as we chart the course to a passwordless future and a more secure online experience.